Land Monitor: Keep the Ground in a Farm

Land Monitor: Keep the Ground in a Farm

National Save the Family Farm Coalition
Washington, DC

This project will develop a crowd-sourced mapping platform that would allow small farmers and others to document land and resource “grabs,” in which outside investors purchase farmland or fishing rights.

This project will develop and promote a crowd-sourced, participatory mapping platform that would allow small farmers, fisherpeople, and rural policy advocates to document instances of land and resource “grabs,” in which outside investors or corporate entities purchase farmland or fishing rights. 

These grabs, and the economic pressures they reflect, have significant impact on rural communities. Activist work to address them should also take a cross-issue approach; an online tool such as this mapping platform can provide valuable insights from a variety of regions and perspectives leading to better knowledge-sharing and wider understanding of important trends.

Over the past four years, investment in farmland and fisheries has boomed due to the collapsed housing market, the narrowing supply of land and resources, and a subsequent shift to the “financialization” of natural resources. For example, from 2008 to 2009, over 120 new financial instruments were invented to facilitate easier purchasing of land for farming, leading to what some have coined as a global “land rush” to secure rights to land and resources.

This project helps to provide new tools and training to help the member organizations within NFFC to be on the front-line to identify the trends in their communities and translate it into mechanisms to inform policy options. The timing is critical, considering the number of farmers reaching retirement age and the amount of land that is poised to change hands within the next decade.